Eighteen senators urge Gov. Nixon not to accept Syrian refugees

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JEFFERSON CITY - A group of Missouri Republican senators sent a letter to Gov. Jay Nixon Monday urging him to suspend the acceptance of Syrian refugees wanting to relocate in Missouri.

A spokesperson for the Senate Majority Caucus cited the recent terrorist attacks in Paris as the reason 18 Republican state senators are asking him not to accept the refugees. Senate Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said protecting Missourians is too important to risk allowing individuals in who may seek to infiltrate our nation in order to carry out terrorist attacks.

"The State of Missouri will not be forced to make up for this administration's mishandling of America's foreign policy," Richard said. "We will not idly stand by while our citizens are put in harm's way. We call upon our governor to do his duty and protect the safety and well-being of the citizens of the Show-Me State by opposing this misguided plan."

Four senators from mid-Missouri signed the letter: Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla; Sen. Mike Kehoe, R- Jefferson City; Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R- Callaway County; Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. 

"We will always remember we are a nation of immigrants, and we are willing to welcome those who come to seek better lives for themselves and their families through legal channels," said Richard. "But, we cannot allow poorly vetted individuals to come to our state without an in-depth screening process. I urge the governor to suspend the acceptance of Syrian refugees until the Department of Homeland Security can assure us the procedures are safe and a full review of security threats has been completed."

Other state senators weighed in saying they don't believe opening Missouri to Syrian refugees is in the state's best interest. 

"If this administration truly wants to help millions of people living under the hand of vicious Islamic extremists, it should devote its efforts towards developing a coherent foreign policy that brings freedom to refugees in their own homelands," said Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar.

"Missouri is a state that is a rich melting pot of different cultures; however, her residents and their safety must be our first concern. Anyone who cannot properly provide the appropriate documentation should not be allowed to settle in Missouri," stated Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown.

Missouri senators who signed the petition include: 

  • Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla
  • Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville
  • Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar
  • Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby
  • Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City
  • Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit
  • Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown
  • Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis
  • Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar
  • Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin
  • Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Callaway County
  • Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville
  • Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph
  • Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia
  • Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale
  • Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City
  • Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau
  • Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa

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